One of my favorite achievements of my youth was earning my Eagle Scout badge. I loved almost every minute of scouts, from my first Pinewood Derby as a Tiger Cub, to my Eagle Scout ceremony in high school. In addition, my grandparents started the troop in my town and my uncle and dad were leaders, so it was a family adventure. When I look back at it, scouts gave me a passion for the outdoors, which is a big part of why I moved to Colorado after college.
What’s your story? If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, odds are, at some point, you have had to give a testimony — give your life story — in front of somebody.
I still have fond memories of my high school baccalaureate.
“Looks like somebody has a case of the Mondays.” – The annoying, nameless, secretary in the movie “Office Space.” The above quote changed my path in life. “Office Space” is about three men who work for a computer software company and they hate their jobs so much they decide to rip off the company they work for.
This week I received a well-timed message on Facebook. It had been a long day of meetings and I wasn’t overly excited about the challenges ahead of me the next day. The message was from a former Young Lifer and he thanked me for walking alongside him and how much he appreciated it now that he was at a different stage in life. I write this not to brag about how great I am, but because it sufficiently lead me into some thoughts on how October is pastor appreciation month. Webster defines a pastor as “a person authorized to conduct religious ownership.” The definition fits our modern idea of the word, but biblically, “pastor” has more to do with compassion than authority.
In the movie “Liar, Liar” the main character finds success by lying. His lying is so bad that when his son is asked what his dad does for a living, he says, “My dad’s a liar.” (He’s actually a lawyer – say both out loud to hear the play on words). A wish from his son requires the character to only tell the truth. Initially, his struggle to tell the truth is portrayed as nearly impossible. Obviously the movie is an exaggeration, but sometimes I think we convince ourselves it is easier to be dishonest.
In the fall, I went back to my college alma mater for the first time in eight years. When I returned I was surprised about how God spoke to me during that trip, and it’s an important lesson I’d like share. The reason I returned to my school was my cross country and track coach, the coach there for 27 years, officially “retired” in the fall. But, unofficially and off-the-record, he was asked to step down. I was extremely upset and disappointed in how the situation was handled by the administration.
In the 2005 remake of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the climax of the movie takes place when Willy Wonka offers his factory to Charlie on one condition: Charlie leave his family in order to live in the factory. Willy is taken aback when Charlie chooses his family over the factory. Willy had just offered Charlie a child’s dream — to be in charge of a magical factory with the Oompa Loompas as friends for life.
It might take a couple of days, but Charlie Griffiths and Cody Nelson will be happy they took home medals from the Warrior Classic. On Saturday night, they weren’t too excited because they wanted medals of a different color. Both Moffat County seniors went into the prestigious tournament with the goal to win. Instead, Nelson finished sixth and Griffiths finished fourth. Both wrestlers lost their medal round matches by one point in the final seconds.
To give up just five points in one quarter is considered a quality defensive effort in basketball. Unfortunately for the Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team, such an effort was negated when the Bulldogs scored only two points of their own in the same quarter. MCHS finished the first half of its game Saturday against Palisade with 10 points.
21-6 first quarter key for win against WSL foe
PALISADE – One advantage of having a three-day tournament is that by the third game, a coach has had a chance to scout the upcoming opponent twice in a matter of 48 hours. Matt Ray, Moffat County High School girls basketball coach, had a pretty good idea of what his team could do against Saturday’s opponent, Palisade. “Cortez and Rifle pressed them and it worked well,” Ray said. “I felt pretty good about our chances if we did the same.” The Bulldogs defense made it hard on Palisade to get past half court in the first quarter, and at one point MCHS led 21-4. The quarter ended with the Bulldogs in blue leading the Bulldogs in maroon, 21-6. The rest of the game wasn’t as lopsided, but MCHS finished with a 53-41 win.
Boys lose big at Palisade tourney
At halftime against Montezuma-Cortez High School, Matt Ray set out a challenge to one of his Moffat County Bulldogs. “(Montezuma-Cortez) were raining threes in the first half,” he said. “So I told Maddy (Jourgensen) her job was to make sure that didn’t happen in the second half.” The Panther’s Keely Yanito hit three of the team’s six, three pointers in the half to give Cortez a 33-32 lead going into halftime.
“Pin to win” is a mantra that is printed on all kinds of wrestling gear and memorabilia. On Dec. 10 at the Union Duals in Roosevelt, Utah, the mantra became truth for the Moffat County High School wrestling team. “We had to get pins if we were to win because of our open weights,” MCHS coach Roman Gutierrez said. The Bulldogs had four empty weights, which yielded 24 points to their opponents before a wrestler stepped on the mat.
Five seniors have grown up together on the wrestling mat
Early in his coaching career, Roman Gutierrez had a mentor told him something that has proven true during the Moffat County High School wrestling coach’s successful career. Those words were that if each class of kids can have four or five consistent wrestlers the team will be strong. During Gutierrez’s state championship years that was the case. This year Gutierrez’s senior class of Charlie Griffiths, Cody Nelson, Kye Adams Cody Adams and Ben Winslow represent that ideal.
Zach and Angelo Raftopoulos use familiarity, hoops history to help lead boys team
Zach and Angelo (Hodge) Raftopoulos have been around basketball most of their lives. Their older sisters played together on some of the best girls teams in Moffat County High School history. The cousins traveled to watch their sisters play, but they weren’t far from basketball either. “Whenever we got together, it seemed like a basketball game happened,” Hodge said. “(Zach and I) have played a lot of basketball together.”
Matt Ray ready for his role as head girls hoops boss
Turn the clock back 18 years and picture Matt Ray as a high school senior. At the time, he was running wind sprints and working through drills under the observation of coach Craig Mortensen. “I thought Mort was hard and rigid,” Ray said. “Those were through high school eyes. Sometimes I thought I couldn’t ever do anything right for him.”
The last two years, Cody Nelson had been a little jealous of wrestlers who won the Mountain Vista Survival Tournament. Winners are awarded a big WWE style belt. “Last year, I had a three-way tie for first, but I didn’t get the belt,” the Moffat County High School senior wrestler said. “A guy I pinned ended up with the belt, so I was looking forward to the chance to get a belt this year.” Nelson succeeded in his goal with a 10-0 weekend.
It didn’t take long for Rusty Cox to see that his soccer team was going to be something special this year. “I could see the kids really realized they had a special group about two or three days into two-a-days,” the Moffat County High School boys soccer coach said. “They started to believe that I thought they’d be good. Of course, I’ve known that for a while.” Cox has helped coach the sophomores, juniors and seniors as he moved up the age groups since they were playing on small goals. The team and coach suffered through two losing seasons together. But, this year was a different story.
Growing up in Laramie, Wyo., Michael Bates would go to University of Wyoming football games. He told himself when he watched, “I want to coach on this field someday.” On Friday, that dream will be realized. Bates and his 9-0 Little Snake River Valley football team will take the field against 7-2 Hanna Elk Mountain Medicine Bow in the 6-Man Wyoming State Championship game.
There wasn’t much hesitation among teammates when asked why Moffat County High School senior Tracy Mendoza was named the 2010 Western Slope League Player of the Year. “He scored lots of goals,” sophomore Alan Flores said. Everyone else nodded their heads in agreement. Mendoza became the first Bulldog to receive the league’s top honor in team history.
Sandy Camilletti came away from her first Western Slope League postseason meeting happy with the results. She just wished she could have had more of her players recognized. “We didn’t have a lot of spots because of where we finished,” the MCHS volleyball coach said. “But, I think coaches recognized who earned it.” By finishing 3-9 and in a tie for seventh in the league with Battle Mountain, the Bulldogs were allowed one first-team award and one honorable-mention award.
When the Moffat County High School football coaching staff walked off the field after its season-opening 26-22 loss to Evergreen, James Neaton turned to Lance Scranton and said, “I hope that doesn’t come back to bite us.” Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Neaton’s fear became reality Sunday afternoon when the Colorado High School Activity Association released the Class 3A playoff bracket and wild card points. For the second-consecutive year, the Bulldogs finished the season with the 17th best power ranking. The top 16 make the playoffs.
This one was fun. The atmosphere in the Moffat County locker room after the final home game of the season was jovial. That was expected, considering the Bulldogs had just snapped a five-year losing streak to their rivals, Steamboat Springs, and they did it in convincing fashion, 42-8. “That was the most fun I’ve had all year,” said senior fullback and linebacker Brady Conner. “We did our jobs tonight and it is a great way to end the season.”
When CJ Walt saw the football schedule for this year, he liked that the last regular season game of his senior year was against Steamboat Springs. “I circled that game,” Walt said. “It’s a big one for us.” The Western Slope League athletic directors did what they could to set up rivalry games this year in the last week of the season.
Maddy Jourgensen’s watery eyes summed it up for the Moffat County High School girls cross-country team. “It was just not a good race,” she said, fighting off tears after her race at the Colorado State High School Cross-Country Championships. Jourgensen finished her stellar cross-country career with an 11th-place finish. As a junior she was fourth and as a sophomore she was sixth.
An hour after the last high school cross-country race of his career, Chris Zirkle was smiling, but he admitted it wasn’t his biggest smile. “I’m happy with my season, but not entirely with my race today,” said the Hayden resident who runs for Moffat County High School. “I wanted to finish in the top two.”
No overtime needed this week for the Moffat County High School football team. Three forced turnovers and a dominating performance from both lines led the Bulldogs to a 34-14 win at Eagle Valley on Friday night. “We work everyday on forcing turnovers,” Moffat coach Kip Hafey said. “This week, it paid off.” On the other sideline, the perspective was painful.
The last time the Moffat County High School football team traveled to Vail Valley, it hopped off the bus prepared to face an option attack. But to their surprise, Battle Mountain had a new quarterback and ended up throwing for more than 350 yards. This week, the Bulldogs don’t expect too many surprises as they return to the I-70 corridor to face Eagle Valley.
EDWARDS – Six Flags Denver could make a new rollercoaster ride based on the ups and downs of this game. Maybe call it the Excite-a-tron or the Friday Night Lights Express, or even the Knock Down Dragster. Any of those rides would still be hard to capture the essence of what happened here on Friday. After 11 touchdowns, almost 1,000 yards of offense and nearly countless big plays, Moffat County came away with a 40-34 overtime win against Battle Mountain.
It’s do-or-done time for the Moffat County High School football team. With a 1-2 record in the Western Slope League, the Bulldogs must win their final four games for any chance to end a three-year playoff drought. Head coach Kip Hafey said he and his staff have made sure to tell his team these facts going into tonight’s matchup against 1-5 Battle Mountain.
It was almost as if Moffat County High School head coach Kip Hafey had a crystal ball when he predicted what the football game against Glenwood Springs would look like — at least in the first half anyway. Hafey said his team was going to try to keep the ball in their own hands as much as possible, which they did possessing the ball for 20 of the first half’s 24 minutes.
For three-and-a-half quarters, Glenwood Springs and Moffat County were both down two touchdowns in their games against Palisade. What happened in the final six minutes of the respective games is what sets the two teams apart. Glenwood rallied for two touchdowns and a win, Moffat County gave up two touchdowns for a lopsided loss (at least on the scoreboard).
There would be no fourth-quarter letdown this week for the Palisade football team. A week after giving up two-touchdown lead to Glenwood Springs in the final quarter, Palisade scored three touchdowns in the final quarter to put away Moffat County, 36-6.
MCHS prepared for visit by ranked opponent on Homecoming
Moffat County High School has been full of festivities this week. That was easy to see within the first 10 seconds of entering the high school when students walked around in themed outfit of the day, like 1980s, cowfolk or hippies. After school was also busy.
DELTA – Before last week, the last time Hodge Raftopoulos ran the football in a game was his freshman year. Friday night in Delta, the senior and Moffat County’s “thunder” formation ran over the Panthers for a 26-7 victory. “The thunder is the easiest offensive formation in football to prepare for,” said Raftopoulos, who spends most of his time as a lineman. “We just run the ball right up the gut and challenge teams to stop us. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d run the ball at all going into this season, but I’ll do whatever the coaches need.”
Starting tonight, everybody in the Class 3A Western Slope League has the same record. That’s the message Moffat County High School head football coach Kip Hafey and his staff delivered to their team this week. The Bulldogs, 1-2, travel to Delta, 2-1, today to start the games that really matter.
After years of maturing, MCHS boys soccer team ready for breakout season
With his boys soccer team just beginning to recover from their hardest conditioning drill of practice, Moffat County High School coach Rusty Cox decided to have a little fun. “Watch this,” he said, as sweat dripped from his athletes’ faces. “Alright, do it again. This time in reverse.” Team members quietly lined back up on the field and started the grueling conditioning again.
Spirit team working hard to prepare for upcoming season
Eat. Cheer. Sleep. Repeat. This has seemingly been the routine the last nine days for Moffat County High School freshman cheerleader Brianna Combs.
As I stood at the base of Taipei 101, the world’s second tallest building, I fought a feeling of insignificance.
I’ve seen the cardboard testimonies presentation at a church or a camp five times in the past six months. The latest was Sunday at the church I attend. On Sunday, I even saw it twice in one day, and regardless of the repetition, I was just as choked up after the fifth time as I was the first time I watched a video on YouTube with the testimonies.
Revenge was sweet for Scott Mann. The Moffat County senior wrestler at 171 pounds went into the Warrior Classic Wrestling tournament Friday and Saturday hoping to avenge a loss from a previous tournament to Rangely’s Keane Raley.
When somebody asks me, “So what do you do?” I typically explain that my job, in a nutshell, is to hang out with teenagers. That usually doesn’t help clear up the question. The asker might not tell me, but I can see that in their head they’re thinking, “That’s a job?”
Kody Fief’s height and Korten Hathhorn’s speed led the Craig Hoosiers to a 30-12 win Thursday night against Hayden in Craig Parks and Recreation youth basketball.
The Sombrero Ranch Great American Horse Drive has been a long-standing tradition, but the activities in Maybell are starting to grow into their own tradition.
No theology for me this time around in the faith column. I want to take this space to simply say "thank you."
It was only a matter time before Erin Urbanoski regained the top spot in Class 4A in the long jump. At least that's what she thought.
1st home runs not enough for Bulldogs against Rifle
Erik Leonard picked a good time to crank his first home run of the season. It was the seniors last time to play at his home field, and it was the team's first long ball of the season.
It happened so fast, Megan Knez didn't get to think about it, but when she crossed the finish line in first place, it was the first and the last time she would do that at her home track.
Another tournament and similar results for the Moffat County High School girls golf team.
Moffat County loses, 5-1, but has strong 2nd-half showing
Kat Thompson was out of breath, but it was a good out of breath. "I ran out of breath I screamed so long," she said. The freshman on the Moffat County High School girls soccer team let out a celebration yelp after scoring a goal against Battle Mountain on Monday at Woodbury Park.